What is Project loon?
It is a mission of providing Internet access to rural and remote areas. It is a research and developing the project of Google X.
The project was officially announced as a Google project on June 14, 2013.
Naming: It was named Project Loon since even Google itself found the idea of providing Internet access to the remaining 5 billion population unprecedented and crazy/loony.
Mission statement: Balloon-powered Internet for everyone in the world.
Balloon lifetime: 100 days to 200 days
Cost: Google has not yet specified the costs of this project.
Aim: The system aims to bring Internet access to remote and rural areas poorly served by existing provisions, and to improve communication during natural disasters to affected regions.
who connected first to Balloon network?
The first person to connect to the “Google Balloon Internet” after the initial test balloons were launched into the stratosphere was a farmer in the town of Leeston, New Zealand, who was one of 50 people in the area around Christchurch who agreed to be a pilot tester for Project Loon.
The New Zealand farmer lived in a rural location that couldn’t get broadband access to the Internet, and had used a satellite Internet service in 2009, but found that he sometimes had to pay over $1000 per month for the service. The locals knew nothing about the secret project other than its ability to deliver Internet connectivity but allowed project workers to attach a basketball-sized receiver resembling a giant bright-red party balloon to an outside wall of their property in order to connect to the network.
Cost reduces, some countries like Africa and Southeast Asia can not afford underground fiber cables as they are costly so with the help of project loon large number of users can connect to.internet network which is good for developing countries.
On May 29, 2014, a Loon balloon crashed into power lines in Washington, United States.
On June 20, 2014, New Zealand officials briefly scrambled emergency services personnel when a Loon balloon came down.
In November 2014, a South African farmer found a crashed Loon balloon in the Karoo desert between Strydenburg and Britstown.
On April 23, 2015, a Loon balloon crashed in a field near Bragg City, Missouri.
Issues in development:
- project developers and astronomers have raised concerns that the lower of the two ISM bands that Loon uses (2.4 GHz) will interfere with the mid-band frequency range (0.5 GHz–3 GHz) used in the SKA project.
- To switch to LTE they need to modify to work in an environment similar to mobile phones where the signal may have to relay through multiple balloons before reaching the wider Internet.